U.S. District Court Judge Ruled That Casinos Have No Legal Obligation to Prevent Gambling Addicts from Betting

February 6, 2024 | Legal

Atlantic City (February 5, 2024) — The recent ruling by U.S. District Court Judge Madeline Cox Arleo suggests that Atlantic City’s casinos have no legal obligation to intervene and prevent compulsive gamblers from betting. The judge dismissed a lawsuit filed by Sam Antar, a self-described problem gambler, against the Borgata and MGM Resorts International, the casino’s parent company. Antar accused the casinos of encouraging him to gamble despite being aware of his addiction.

Judge Arleo based her decision on the extensive rules and regulations governing gambling in New Jersey, stating that these regulations do not impose a legal duty on casinos to cut off compulsive gamblers. While New Jersey law regulates the responsibilities of casinos regarding compulsive gamblers, it is notably silent on whether casinos can induce individuals with compulsive gambling behavior to patronize their establishments.

The judge referred to two previous cases in New Jersey where lawsuits by a compulsive gambler and a patron who claimed losses while gambling under the influence were unsuccessful. Similar lawsuits in other states, including Indiana, have also been dismissed.

The ruling emphasizes that, as a matter of law, the defendants (casinos) do not owe a negligence common law duty of care to plaintiffs like Antar. The judge pointed out that New Jersey’s legislature has not mandated casinos to prevent or stop inducing gambling in individuals exhibiting problem gambling behavior.

Antar expressed his intention to appeal the dismissal of the case, emphasizing the need for legislative changes to address the issue. He argued that the law needs to be amended to protect individuals with gambling addiction. Antar had gambled $30 million over 100,000 bets in nine months in 2019, according to his lawsuit.

The lawsuit also mentioned a similar case from 2008 where a federal judge ruled against a gambler who sued Atlantic City casinos, claiming they had a duty to prevent her from gambling. The judge in that case concluded that the mere fact that the casinos profited from the gambler’s losses did not establish a cognizable claim in the law.

Antar’s lawyer, Matthew Litt, plans to focus the appeal on the argument that New Jersey’s Consumer Fraud Act, designed to protect customers from “unconscionable” acts by companies, should apply in this case.

SOURCE: News Services.